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Bigger and Better

Pyramid Printing Expands into Wide Format

By Cassandra Balentine

Every business must stay ahead of client needs to maintain and fuel success. For print providers, this includes remaining on top of the latest technologies and making strategic, well-timed investments.

Kingman Leung, founder, Pyramid Printing & Graphics, is keen to this way of thinking. Established in 1987, the company has consistently evolved to remain relevant to existing and prospective customers. Located in South San Francisco, CA, it staffs 16 employees out of a 25,000 square foot facility. The company’s core and traditional focus is in the production print space, mainly providing digital capabilities versus traditional offset.

The shop creates personalized promotions and cross-media campaigns, incorporating Web to print and analytic capabilities utilizing a range of production presses including a Xerox Corporation iGen and recently acquired Hewlett-Packard (HP) Indigo 7600 digital presses.

Leung recognized the need to expand into wide format after several inquiries. “I was approached by many clients and thought I better start offering wide format services before someone else did,” he recalls.

Going Bigger
Approximately one and a half years ago, the shop stepped up its wide format capabilities, investing in a flatbed from Fujifilm North America Corporation—a 4x8-foot Acuity Advance HD2565 UV featuring white ink.

To capitalize on the investment, Pyramid Printing recognized the need for complementary finishing options. In addition to the ability to cut large and rigid output, flexibility was essential.

 

The company settled on the Esko Kongsberg XN24. The XN series offers a choice of five tool heads as an assortment of insert tools. Dynamic table mapping provides precise, automatic z-control during finishing, preventing damage to the underlay. Additionally, the device is controlled by i-cut Vision Pro to offer efficient and accurate print-to-cut registration.

Leung cautiously surveyed the market for the ideal finishing table. He was invited to attend Dscoop by HP in 2012, where he first noticed a Kongsberg flatbed cutter in action at the Esko booth. After six months and reviewing a number of machines, he decided to jump on the technology. The Acuity was acquired at the same time.

 

While the shop is not at 100 percent uptime on the Kongsberg yet, it produces a range of services, from cutting foamboard to creating kiss cuts on thin material.

Before bringing the Kongsberg in house, Pyramid Printing looked into other options but ultimately decided on Esko due to the support and software that came with the purchase.

 

New Capabilities
With its latest wide format capabilities, Pyramid Printing offers clients more options. Since investing in the Fujifilm printer and Esko Kongsberg cutter, the shop’s wide format business jumped from about ten to 30 percent. “Before these purchases, there was a lot we couldn’t do, like a packaging box,” admits Leung.

Customers often request color matching, unique die cuts, and other special requests. He adds that the team can now provide die- and kiss-cut proofs, something that wasn’t possible before the cutter.

Leung recalls one request from a print broker that needed to create a box. This required a new die for the sample proof. The initial cost was substantial, and it was also a rush job. “It would be extremely difficult to make the changes once a die was made. I created a box proof without the high cost of the die and made adjustments with ease,” he notes.

Cut Out
Pyramid Printing’s customers are already well educated on the benefits of wide format, and Leung considers it a common market. One popular application the shop turns around quickly is foamboard cutouts for client promotions. “I can easily turn these around in one day, and my customers are happy about this,” he says.

For example, the shop recently produced a variety of graphics for a Bay Area Asian racecar driver, Charles Kaki Ng, participant in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). The printed items included vinyl cling and as well as a cutout, printed on foamboard for display in a retail store.

To produce these types of common applications, precision cutting with the Esko i-cut Vision Pro is essential.

 

Future Paths
By listening to customer demands and looking out for the latest technology, Pyramid Printing is poised for success in its traditional space, as well as the newly forged path of wide format.

 

Apr2014, Digital Output

 

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